Geographical Indication (GI) is a sign that the product having a specific geographical origin and therefore has acquired a good reputation or has special properties due to its valuable origin. The qualities and characteristics of such products provide a significant idea of the specialty of the place of origin and therefore there is a clear link between the product and geographical origin. Such information is a distinctive feature that can be used to differentiate from other competing product.
The complexity of the food industry becomes clear when we take note of the forecast given by international research organization according to which the global grocery retail market is expected to reach a growth rate of 24% and generate an additional US$2.2 trillion in sales by 2024. Basically, the food industry arises from a global conglomerate of various companies that are responsible for supplying most of the food consumed by the world population. With the world's population constantly growing, the food industry must intensify its efforts to ensure the availability and distribution of high-quality food for years to come.
How Technology can help improve GI tags and give GI a global recognition
GI use traceability refers to the ability to track any food through all stages of production, processing and distribution. Increased consumer awareness of food safety and food quality in general means that traceability is an important issue in the food industry. When consumers are given transparency, they feel confident that the food they eat is safe and of high quality. Common strategies to improve traceability in the food industry include the implementation of food laws and / or the use of block chain technology. SaaS (software as a service) technologies also enable traceability solutions to function optimally. Software vendors now host the applications in their data centers and offer them as a service to their customers by subscription or usage. This makes SaaS technology affordable for most grocery retailers. To promote high-quality supplies, SaaS technology can be used to monitor essential data on food materials sold in the market to ensure that food is safe. It can also help prevent fraud and the potential exploitation of GI tags on the black market.
Branding through Geographical Identification (GI) tag
One initiative India should take is to brand agricultural products through steps such as geographical indications (GIs), especially organically produced commodities, which would generate higher returns in global markets. Establishing effective agricultural branding can help farmers gain a competitive advantage in "buyer-driven" world markets. Some world-renowned brands (Californian almonds, Chilean wines, Swiss pralines) enjoy high priority in their respective product groups. Branded items tend to be priced better and can build brand loyalty and are seen as a step toward a strong customer base. Branding adds value by differentiating the product and also by increasing consumer perception that such products are of better quality than unbranded products.
India has some 300 registered GIs, but only a few have been used for commercial value creation. Two of India's most famous GIs are Darjeeling tea and Basmati rice, but both seem small in terms of market impact compared to Chilean wine or Danish cheese. Although a program to promote the branding and marketing of GI products for export was launched in 2015 at the Directorate General for Foreign Trade Policy 2015 -2020, it should be taken to the next level.
Indian exporters can choose to register the geo tag for the products which are originated near their locality like how alphonso mango has a GI tag owned by Maharashtra state which has increase its global acceptance and exports. Indian embassies abroad can act as a catalyst to channel and promote such products through food festivals and exhibitions at busy airports, and encourage top chefs and connoisseurs to highlight them. The Department of Agriculture of the Netherlands Embassy in New Delhi supports Dutch food producers in exploring Indian markets and disseminating their knowledge. In fact, lessons can be learned from other countries in brand promotion. Many countries have opted for bundling, which forms the basis for marking agricultural raw materials and adding value to products. France, for example, started with wine, and soon many other countries followed suit: Japan for Kobe beef, Colombia for Juan Valdez coffee, and New Zealand for Manuka honey. A famous example is Malaysia for the launch of a branding program called Malaysia's Best. It is an umbrella brand for selected horticultural products that guarantee quality and safety in accordance with Malaysian standards and good agricultural practices. The immediate benefit is a significant increase in exports of guava, mango and mangosteen, from $ 21.73 million in 2017 to $ 51.29 million in just one year.
Another argument supporting aggressive branding of agricultural products is that government support, if granted, would be WTO-consistent, as it is placed under the "green box" rather than the "yellow box." India currently supports agricultural exporters through duty drawback and Merchandise Export Incentive Scheme, which may run the risk of not complying with WTO rules. It goes without saying that reasonable budget allocations for aggressive brands and packaging can encourage growers and exporters.
The economy has always had a lot to do with prices and the perception of quality. But at the same time, these labels are like certificates that provide India’s smaller producers, spread across our less-heard export temples, a greater assurance of business beyond borders. Producers, Makers and Exporters of Toda Embroidery, Naga Mircha Pickles, Coorg Orange Jam, Alleppey Coir, Coorg Green Cardamom, Jaipur`s Blue Pottery, etc. may not know, but the fact that their products have the GI Tag convincing foreign buyers will be easier than usual. It also means having the power to be a price maker.
India and the European Union (EU) have recently announced their decision to resume negotiations on a comprehensive trade agreement. Negotiations would also begin on two of the most important agreements, namely investment protection and geographical indications (GIs). Europe is the stronghold of GIs, focusing mainly on agricultural GIs such as wine, cheese, oils and meat products. In these negotiations, India can promote the acceptance of GI labeling of Indian agricultural products in the EU which will help Indian exporters to easily convince foreign importers to buy Indian agricultural products.
If you want to know the basics of registration process you can use the link below –